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Pope names private secretary to supervise Vatican bank



November 29, 2013 - Pope Francis named his personal secretary to supervise the activities of the Vatican bank on Thursday, in a sign the Pontiff wants to follow closely the drive to clean up its operations and image. Msgr. Alfred Xuereb, a 55-year-old Maltese priest, will be the Pope’s delegate to the two commissions created by him to supervise the bank itself and the economic structure and finances of the Holy See, the Vatican said in a statement. Msgr. Xuereb is tasked with ``keeping his eye on the committees and keeping him informed ... on their working procedures and possible initiatives.'' Since taking office in March, Pope Francis has moved to tackle years of financial scandals involving the Vatican bank, formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), which is under investigation on suspicion of money laundering. Msgr. Xuereb will keep the pope informed about the work of the commissions and any action that needs to be taken, it said. Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi told reporters that Msgr. Xuereb had been working in this role unofficially for some time, but would now be able to do so more effectively. Fr. Lombard, said the latest move was purely to smooth communication between the pope and the commissions as they wrap up their work ahead of an upcoming meeting between the pope and his eight cardinal advisers.The Vatican has signed an agreement with Italy over exchanging financial and banking information and the IOR has opened a website, www.ior.va, and begun publishing annual reports in a transparency drive. On his flight back from the World Youth Day in Ri de Janeiro, Brazil, in July, the Pope insisted that the IOR must be transparent and honest. (Source: Reuter)




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